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DGS Delicatessen, Chef Brian Robinson To Replace Barry Koslow, GM Brian Zipin in Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle South Dupont Jewish Deli Homemade Corned Beef Homemade Pastrami

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#1 Adam23

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 10:45 AM

Well, there's always that upcoming Jewish deli in South Dupont that Barry Kos ... oops, damned internet connection ...

As mentioned here about a year ago, Barry Koslow is opening a Deli in Dupont next to Madhatter's. It is a partnership between him and Roadside Food Projects. The food will be kosher-style, but not kosher. Look for pastrami, corned beef, etc. all made in house. I've had the product a few times - it is excellent. Should be a good addition to Dupont.



#2 New Foodie

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 02:38 PM

Any idea on the timeline? My office is literally 20 feet from that space (maybe less?). I wasn't too disappointed that the burger place slated for the space fell through since there are at least 3 other burger options very close by. A deli sounds great.

ETA the link to a Washingtonian article. Slated for next summer.

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#3 DonRocks

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 06:54 PM

As mentioned here about a year ago, Barry Koslow is opening a Deli in Dupont next to Madhatter's. It is a partnership between him and Roadside Food Projects. The food will be kosher-style, but not kosher. Look for pastrami, corned beef, etc. all made in house. I've had the product a few times - it is excellent. Should be a good addition to Dupont.


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#4 Adam23

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 11:26 AM

Any idea on the timeline?


Spring/summer 2012. They are in the process of getting the permits and everything now.

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Edited by DonRocks, 15 December 2011 - 11:29 AM.


#5 DonRocks

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:44 PM

DGS Delicatessen now has a website, a Facebook Page, and a Twitter account.

e-trin, n., <a portmanteau of "electronic trinity"> - a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. The term is used commonly in the field of internet commerce. Coined by DonRocks! on May 18, 2012, 2:55 PM.

I just sent Barry Koslow a message that said, "You owe me a doo-dad jiggle."

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#6 weinoo

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 07:07 AM

They appear to be "friends" with a number of the "delis" in NY putting out good product. Mile End and David's Brisket House are both on their list.

Time will tell.

#7 zoramargolis

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:37 PM

While you are waiting, Jamie Stachowski's pastrami is EXCELLENT and well-priced at $11.99 a pound. 28th and P.

#8 Tweaked

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

Appears to be Now Open....Opening Menu
Meat is Murder...Tasty Tasty Murder

#9 Adam23

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

Yes, stopped in today to take a look. Takeout starts in a week or so. Dinner, next few days. Serving lunch only at the moment. Haven't had a chance to stop by for a sandwich, but menu looks good and the sandwiches coming out look good as well.

#10 turbogrrl

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

Went to DGS tonight, had a good time. There is a cosy bar in the back of the restaurant, where we had a chance to start in on drinks before a table came available. (They also take reservations, and will take your number and text you when a table is available if you choose to wander off while waiting to be seated.) We started off with matzo ball soup and the lamb + lentil knish. This was a personal failure for me on both counts because both of them came garnished with dill, which I completely forgot to ask about. I was able to brush it off of the knish, and enjoyed it very much. Too much of the dill had steeped in the soup, so I have to take nick's word that it was tasty.

For the mains, nick had the pastrami sandwich, and I had a half order of the kreplach. Also, Latkes with apple preserves. Win! none of these had dill. I think my favorite part of my dish was the roasted tomato, but it was all very tasty. I think Nick has been convinced to wander over to dupont for more pastrami. The latkes were ok, but I ended up eating most of the apple preserves. And then, because I really didn't have lunch, we had to try *two* desserts. The winner here was clearly the bread "pudding" (nick described it as very soft chocolate chip cookie)... but while the doughnuts probably would have been happier with some coffee to dip them in, they were *perfect* for dredging the pudding dish.

And yes, we ended up spending a little bit more than even we did at Taan last night. But we also had a cocktail, starter, main, 1/2 side, and dessert each. This is a very pleasant addition to south dupont.

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#11 brian robinson

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:55 AM

DGS will be open both lunch and dinner Friday, and dinner only on Saturday and Sunday this weekend
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#12 KeithA

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:57 PM

Went to DGS on Friday for lunch and had a rather nice time. First time I ever made a reservation for a deli and got a confirmation call - so it was clear before we arrived they are aiming for a more upscale restaurant feel, than your typical deli. The food was mostly good with a few items needing improvement.

Started with the pickle plate, which looks very pretty with a wide variety of pickled goodies (eggs, half-sour and dill spears, mushrooms, fennel, and turnips). It looked better than it tasted - the more unusual options - fennel and mushrooms were the best, the actual pickles were kind of weak flavored. But my personal preference is for well-done and these half-sours tasted more like 1/4 sour. Later on the sandwiches came with "half"-sours, it would have been nice if they asked if we wanted the more-done 3/4 dills.

Next, matzo ball soup - very good, traditional soup - the ball will either make everyone happy or pissed - it wasn't super fluffy and wasn't super hard. Somewhere in between, maybe more to the soft side. I liked it. However, it wasn't very different than a Jewish homecook would make.

The knish is definitely not traditional. Not exactly sure why it was even a knish except maybe the shape. A small round cylinder of dough filled with lots of lentils, some sweetness and maybe merguez sausage (I didn't taste it despite what the menu said). It is served on top of two sauces - one I guess is the "raisin mustard" but looked and tasted like apple butter. Don't get me wrong, this sauce went well with the dish for some added sweetness.to the earthy lentils. The other sauce was yellow and seemed to be like hollandaise, but maybe it was more mustardy. Hard to place when mixed with the other stronger flavors on the plate. Overall, this dish was our party of 2's least favorite. It was a nice try, but the flavor wasn't great.

We shared the pastrami and white fish sandwiches. The pastrami was REALLY GOOD! It is moist, but not overly fatty, thick cut with lots of good meaty, lightly spicy flavor. Reminded me of the style at LA's Langer's deli. The sandwich wasn't huge by any means, but it was a good portion. I will definitely be coming back for the pastrami. Nothing fancy hear just really good deli meat on good rye with mustard. The white fish was gussied up a bit. Unlike the menu that says served on challah, ours was served on the montreal bagel which was chewy and good, less like a spongy bread than typical run of the mill bagels. The white fish itself was good, not great - the fish salad flavor was somewhat muted - but I did like the non-traditional addition of the tomato jam that paired well with the fish. I don't know why our fish was on the bagel, but I'd probably order it that way again.

I've heard good things about the eggplant reuben. I'll have to try that next time.

#13 mtureck

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:44 PM

Yup, the main thing to note is that this is a restaurant serving deli-style food, not a deli.

Normally whenever I try a deli for the fist time, I order a pastrami sandwich ($13), a potato knish ($8) and a Dr. Brown's soda ($3). But as you can see, that would have set me back close to $30 for lunch after tax and tip, so I stuck to just the pastrami and soda.

I wasn't happy with the pastrami at all. I found it cut way too thick, was far too fatty, and lacked flavor. I'm normally fond of fatty pastrami, but on this sandwich the fat was too chewy and thick...not particularly appetizing. They make everything in-house, so maybe they're still working out consistency..which could help explain the big difference between Keith's reaction and mine.

The sandwich was served with only a thin pickle wedge, and I completely agree with Keith's take on them. I love full sour deli pickles, so the "1/4 sour" really didn't do it for me.

So, that was still almost $20 for a small lunch..even if the pastrami was excellent, (and I'll try it again in a few weeks), I'd have a hard time justifying it.

BTW, they're not doing take out yet, but they say it's coming soon.

#14 collije

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:57 PM

Stopped by mid-evening Friday night to checkout the back bar & peruse the menu. Nice friendly service from Raquel (sp?), formerly from Central and Medium Rare I believe. Not a huge selection of liquors (no Makers Mark) but enough for her to go off-menu -- I had a tasty sazerac. Since I'll do dinner eventually with a friend, I had only the Matzo Ball soup. Like KeithA noted, very good & very traditional (I personally liked the ball's semi-firmness. sliced fine with a spoon).

The bar area is tiny, maybe sits about 8 with the walkpath (to either the back entrance or restaurant front) I can see folks having to do a lot of 'excuse me', that happened late Friday when a large crew came. I semi-wonder if they'll make enough $ back there, but fingers crossed for them. Good 1st impression.

#15 darkstar965

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:19 AM


Made it here tonight for a first visit for dinner. We were four. Like so many, I've been pining for a quality jewish deli for a long time. Since the hype on DGS started early this year, I've been hoping this might fit the bill though have been nervous about the modernization of the concept.


HEADLINE


No, it's not a jewish deli so much as a nicer (more expensive) restaurant serving deli food and drinks. But the food is good, it's not overpriced and they deserve to succeed.


VENUE


Right next to Luna Cafe south of Dupont Circle, the look and feel of the place are every bit the same as many of the newer, trendy eateries that have opened up in DC in recent years. Hostess stand at entry with a staircase just behind them to the upper floor. The "deli counter" is largely shielded to the right but, sure enough, behind it, guys are doing good things with pickles, knishes, pastrami, rye bread and the like. The venue itself could be Birch & Barley, Graffiato or Pulpo.


We got a nice table at the back of the room upstairs, which again, shares little in common decor wise with any jewish deli I've ever seen. But that's entirely okay in my humble opinion.


One nit. Noise doesn't usually bug me too much but the noise level upstairs was loud enough to make conversation a bit challenging. I haven't read any TS first bite of DGS yet but I'd bet the farm he has or will comment on this if he goes for dinner.


SERVICE


Brian Zipin (fomerly of Medium Rare in Cleveland Park) is GMing here. It was good to see him.


Joseph was our waiter and he did a fine job, making various suggestions, offering tastes of wine to inform decisions, and ensuring we were well taken care of while also training a new hire.


BEVERAGE & FOOD


We thought most everything pretty good as follows:


Domaine Dupueble Gamay Beaujolais 2011 ($8). They only offer five red wines by the glass. A full-bodied Italian (Leon de Castris Primativo 2009) I didn't enjoy once tasted, a Malbec (Ernesto Catena 2011) I didn't try and the Beaujolais that two of us ordered which was fruit forward and easy to drink, enjoy and pair with most of the menu.


Pickle Plate ($5). This came with four cucumber spears, radish, fennel, carrots, a hard egg and fennel. All house pickled. All good. Reasonably priced as a starter if you like pickled anything as I do.


Matzo Ball Soup ($7). I didn't think it over-dilled but does have some dill in it. It's a more refined, simple preparation with a medium consistency single matzo ball. Fine. I'd even order it again. But I still think the Matzo Ball Soup at Wagshals is way better than this and best I've yet found in DC.


Chopped Liver ($8). Red Onion Marmalade, Gribenes, Double Baked Rye. All four of us loved this. Great flavor. Ample portion and nice preparation with some red onion. Everyone raved. Maybe the best dish we had.


Pickled Blue Fish ($9). Radish and Salsa Verde, Russian Rye Toast. Again a good sized portion for the money that everyone enjoyed. Served on a slice of dark pumpernickle.


Kreplach ($17). Bacalao Stuffed Ravioli with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Za'atar Spice. Probably the least successful of the four main dishes ordered at our table. The pasta was nice, thin with some bite. But the fish stuffing was overly salty with muted flavor. Okay but not so great.


Holishkes ($18) Beef and Rye Stuffed Cabbage in a Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce. The rye bread in this made for a strange texture but the two beef-wrapped cabbage bundles were good. Maybe a 3rd stuff cabbage would be a good idea for the price given they are small.


Shishlik ($18). Grilled Fish Kabob, Fregula, Tomato and Eggplant Stew. Made with Mahi Mahi tonight, this dish was straightforward without any strong seasoning but enjoyed. The Mahi was cooked nicely.


White Fish Salad ($10). Tomato Jam, Fried Capers, Butter Lettuce, Montreal Bagel. Agree with KeithA who termed this "good not great" with "muted flavor." We enjoyed it but there's definite room for improvement. Bagel and bread note just below.


Bread Note: There was quite a bit of press about Mark Furstenberg dong the bread here. He isn't anymore. Rye bread was pretty good from Upper Crust. The bagels they say they're getting from somewhere in Montreal are disappointingly nothing special.


Since our dining companions were from out of town, we passed on dessert to expose them to the surer thing with a couple of blocks walk to Dolcezza.


BOTTOM LINE


We'll go back to DGS. I worry some that they'll draw criticism for not being like a traditional Jewish deli, for charging too much with fine-dining restaurant positioning and for some of the unconventional entrees on the menus. IMHO, these criticisms aren't fair and the place should be evaluated as any place would be: value for money with emphasis on food quality. On that scale, it does pretty well and I'm guessing will improve. More attention to the dinner entrees and the matzo ball soup to dial up flavors and originality would be good. Will get back soon for a lunch to try the knish and sandwiches.


#16 turbogrrl

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:57 PM

(note re: dill: I wasn't trying to say the soup was over-dilled— I just happen to be horribly allergic to dill. It's really kind of a tragedy, since dill is so *tasty*.)

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#17 zoramargolis

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:15 PM

(note re: dill: I wasn't trying to say the soup was over-dilled— I just happen to be horribly allergic to dill. It's really kind of a tragedy, since dill is so *tasty*.)


Oh, the mysterious ways of food allergies. I'm curious, are you also allergic to fennel, which is in the same family as dill?

#18 The Hersch

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

I've never heard of a dill allergy, although I fully sympathize with dill aversion. I read something a year or two ago by someone who had spent some months in Russia, and the author said, more or less, that after a few days it was like "I surrender! Please! Please! No more dill!" because the Russians seem to put it in everything, and I can imagine that would become very wearying. To me, though, as a non-Jew, dill is what makes chicken soup Jewish. As a boy I had a sort of surrogate Jewish mother (the mother of one of my best friends), and her delicious chicken soup was redolent of dill.

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#19 zoramargolis

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 12:37 AM

Well there was quite a bit of dill on several of the dishes, but that was fine with me. Everything we ordered was terrific. And I loved the Middle Eastern flavors interwoven within the Ashkenazic classic dishes. We started with a pickle plate, a knish and a bowl of beet borscht in the middle of the table for the four of us. Wow. The hot borscht was pureed to a silky texture, with amazingly deep beet flavor--a big dollop of sour cream in the center of the bowl and a sprinkling of dill surrounding it. Made with a totally vegetable broth ("beet stock" said the waiter, who checked in the kitchen). The knish was a flaky pastry filled with lentils and merguez sausage, surrounded by a smooth, light saffron-colored sauce and a fig puree, with a garnish of fresh dill and mint. And the pickle plate, with mushrooms, spicy cuke and green tomato, and a wedge of hardboiled egg and turnips that had been pickled in beet juice and vinegar. K. said the pickled turnips were ubiquitous in Beirut. She ordered flanken, her b.f. had a reuben sandwich, J. had a pastrami sandwich, and I had a corned beef sandwich, and we ordered a side of fries for the table. J. likes Katz's pastrami sandwiches better--fattier and softer, but I completely disagree. Both pastrami and corned beef were tender, but not at all mushy, as steamed deli meats typically are. This meat was griddled after it was sliced, so that while it was easy to chew, there was still a bit of tooth to it and crisped edges, and the bread was chewy, not soft. The pastrami had distinct smoke flavor and the corned beef wasn't fatty. (I ended up taking half of my sandwich home for tomorrow.) The flanken short rib was meaty and tender in a way that indicated long slow braising, with a thick reduced sauce, sweetened by the dried figs that had been cooked with the meat. The fries were fresh cut, hot and crisp with a sprinkling of za'atar and a pot of yogurt-based dipping sauce. Our four hands kept reaching for them and we debated getting a second order, but decided that would be too greedy. Of the two desserts we ordered, the favorite was the warm bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream, that yielded up a hidden pocket of bittersweet chocolate (my guess is Valrhona) in the center. The Hungarian donuts were deemed "a little bit boring" by comparison, simply sprinkled with powdered sugar and toasted almonds. I didn't taste them, but K. thought that they should be filled with something chocolate (I suggested Fox's U-Bet ganache), or served with a fruit coulis. K. who is now waiting tables in an upscale new restaurant in Chapel Hill, provided a running commentary on the waitstaff, and said that she was very impressed with the quality of the service, especially given that the place is so new. Brian Zipin was omnipresent, and has clearly done a great job training the young staff. Everything we ordered deserves an A with the exception of the teigelach dessert, which gets a B+. My feeling is that when this place gets the reviews it deserves, it will be impossible to get a table like we did, walking in without a res on Saturday night at 8, and waiting for 15 minutes in the bar until we were seated. It's going to be very, very busy.

#20 DonRocks

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:10 AM

I can't find the hours of this place?!


Move your cursor over "Open Seven Days."

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#21 Lori Gardner

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:32 PM

I had dinner at DGS last night. My favorite dish was the kasha varnishkas. My grandmother used to make this dish- but not like this. I appreciate the reinvented version which incorporates Middle Eastern accents and a lot more flavor. The Reuben was good, although I wished I had ordered a straight up pastrami sandwich so I could appreciate the flavor of the meat a bit more. I liked the fries, but a sprinkle more Zatar would have made them even better. The babka bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream is a perfect ending to the meal- another nice twist on a standard Jewish dish. And it's plenty big to share. I'm eager for another visit- some of the salads sound great. Who can resist tongue or gribenes on a salad? Not me!

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#22 sheldman

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

Our dinner tonight was lovely all around. The staff was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The pickle plate (which is always in flux, I am told, but ours had cucumbers, fennel, turnips, tomato, egg) was nice. Brussels sprouts and borscht (not together, separately) were both really good - and, as to both, it is great for my vegetarian loved ones to have a restaurant where the vegetable dishes are made out of vegetables, without extraneous pork bits or even chicken stock. And the whitefish salad on bagel with tomato jam and capers was really awesomely delicious. Plus, celery soda - and actual packs of wooden matches with the restaurant logo. All fairly priced. Great dinner.

[Editing the next day to add this: I realize on reflection and discussion that this restaurant is risky in a sense - that is, there are a large number of people who have firm beliefs (often well-founded) about what this sort of food "should" be - either because they have grandparents who cooked similar dishes with similar or identical names, or because they grew up going to "Jewish" restaurants and delis in NY, Montreal, etc. So there is immense room for delight and/or disappointment based on expectations and experience. I can't speak to that, because my Hungarian Jewish grandmother in Alabama was not much of a cook; her idea of demonstrating her heritage through cooking was to put paprika on the frozen tater tots before baking. Approaching it as a restaurant, rather than as a deli-type restaurant, allowed me to experience it as a really nice mid-priced friendly place with very good food.]

#23 SeanMike

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:40 PM

So I spent last night there...literally all night, I was the first one in there and I think the last one to leave with my companion for the evening.

The good: the service was AMAZING. Our bartender was very friendly and helpful, completely non-plussed no matter how busy it got. The manager and other staff were also quite excellent, polite and very helpful to all sorts of issues and customers that came through during the evening.

The also good: the drinks were quite excellent. The Bridgetown Apple Royale is a dangerously tasty drink.

The not as good: the food, really. We got the pickle plate to start. I liked the egg a lot, and the cucumbers were good too. The rest of it wasn't as good - I couldn't identify what the white vegetable was (my date did but I've forgotten what she said it was) and the carrots (at least, we think they were carrots) were eye-watering. She got the open faced salmon pastrami and seemed to like it. I got the regular pastrami sandwich, and while the meat was tasty on its own, on the sandwich I found it overwhelmed by the rye and the mustard. It was also quite hard to bite through, making it difficult to eat without making a mess, and surprisingly small (to me) especially for $13.

(A caveat on the pastrami: I am a heathen. I prefer my pastrami piled high on white bread with mayo, maybe a slice of swiss.)

I would definitely go back for the bar service, and I would still like to try the chopped liver and some other things. The pickle plate, with a different combination of veggies, might be quite good, so I'd be willing to give it another shot. But I wasn't blown away like I expected to be.

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#24 giant shrimp

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

My favorite dish was the kasha varnishkas. My grandmother used to make this dish- but not like this. I appreciate the reinvented version which incorporates Middle Eastern accents and a lot more flavor.

Before coming here, the first and last time I tasted this dish was when I cooked it a few years ago from a Mark Bittman recipe in The New York Times that I assume was fairly traditional. I didn't enjoy this version nearly as much. The problem was partly the new interpretation, but also the execution. Absent were the soft onions in chicken fat that transport the groats and bowties in your grandmother's kitchen. In their place, the farfalle were swamped in mushrooms, and they were gritty. The fungus to pasta ratio was out of whack. I'm not sure what pronounced spicy Harissa or a hit or two of preserved lemon had to add, but salt and pepper would have been appreciated, both of which were sadly lacking. The reinvention isn't terrible, it just doesn't stand up very well to the standard recipe. Also, you can order a half portion of this, which is a good idea because the full serving is easily a big enough entree for two hearty eaters.

This is especially the case if you started your meal with schmutzy fries. The potatoes themselves hold up well to an onslaught of melted Swiss cheese, sauced pastrami and sauerkraut that are made to be devoured. Like nachos, they can be perilous when starting a meal because before you know it they will have made a serious dent in your appetite. (The Yiddish "schmutzy" may mean something a little different than the German "schmutzig," which in my mind carries an unappetizing connotation; our maid in Frankfurt used the word to refer to a dirty diaper.) The pickle plate, bedecked with half of a beautiful deep pink boiled egg, is a lighter way to start out. It's hard to sustain interest long enough to finish the various pickled vegetables -- including fennel -- as good as they may be, but a brined artichoke heart creates some unexpected excitement.

After so much food, I can't say I was a fair judge of the bread pudding. Its flavor and texture rely too much on melting (and delicious) salty caramel ice cream and chocolate. While good, I would not hold out for this if it meant doing without a side of expertly made latkes served with creme fraiche and apple preserves. These might have been the best thing we ate all night.

We did enounter service problems, in abundance. Should the first party to be seated in the upstairs dining room be shown to the worst table, up against the glare of a serving station where a glass or two will eventually be smashed? Should the second party be shown to the second worst table, adjacent to a side door where staff mysteriously exit and reappear frequently? Instead of dirty fries, we first received regular fries, which we were told were the dirty fries we had ordered; then we were offered the option of keeping them for free. A tepid (and weak) cup of coffee had been sitting someplace too long. Other problems -- reminiscent of maneuvering out of a busy Metro station when only one escalator is available for passengers both coming and going -- swirl around the somewhat rickety staircase leading up from the first floor. It isn't wide enough for two-way traffic, and on a busy night, there are awkward bottlenecks for customers and servers carrying plates of food. One final complaint, the martinis here cost a relatively inexpensive $10, but they are as small as we found them recently at the nearby Firefly, which puts the real cost of a decent martini here at $20. I can understand why most places would be reluctant to charge that.

DGS obviously needs some more time to settle in. It is offering plenty of good delicatessen food, but has a ways to go to realize its ambition of becoming a first-rate Jewish restaurant.

#25 zoramargolis

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:12 AM

We didn't order the kasha when we were there. I'm curious though. Was the buckwheat toasted in chicken fat? I got the impression that this was offered as a vegetarian main, in which case, schmaltz wouldn't have been used. When I was growing up, we always had this as a side dish with pot roast or brisket, in lieu of rice or potatoes, often without the bowtie noodles. A whole huge plateful doesn't sound terribly appetizing to me. the schmutzy fries sounds like deli poutine--that wasn't on the menu last weekend when I was there. And you are correct--schmutz means dirt in Yiddish as well as in Deutsch.

#26 giant shrimp

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:55 AM

We didn't order the kasha when we were there. I'm curious though. Was the buckwheat toasted in chicken fat? I got the impression that this was offered as a vegetarian main, in which case, schmaltz wouldn't have been used. When I was growing up, we always had this as a side dish with pot roast or brisket, in lieu of rice or potatoes, often without the bowtie noodles. A whole huge plateful doesn't sound terribly appetizing to me. the schmutzy fries sounds like deli poutine--that wasn't on the menu last weekend when I was there. And you are correct--schmutz means dirt in Yiddish as well as in Deutsch.


This could well have been, and probably was, a vegetarian offering, though it is not billed that way on the menu and not what I expected. I don't have that many opportunities to eat chicken fat, so I really missed it in this dish, where I thought it would play a starring role. If schmaltz was used, it was hard to detect. If I were a vegetarian -- and I do lean in that direction in what I prepare at home -- this is not a place I would visit on my own. This is a place that is cultivating a growing reputation based on meat, which is what I would expect from a delicatessen. It does not yet have the ambience down, though, which requires flamboyance of a kind, but not the zaniness we encountered. Also, I think service-wise it is still suffering from opening night jitters.

#27 Bob Wells

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

The name "schmutzy fries" doesn't bother me; I enjoy "Dirty Potato Chips." "Schmutzig fries" to me meant they were dropped on the floor before being served.

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#28 sheldman

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

... If I were a vegetarian -- and I do lean in that direction in what I prepare at home -- this is not a place I would visit on my own. ...


Having eaten here again (with my vegetarian kid), I will respectfully disagree with this. In my experiences so far, the vegetable sides are really notably good (and, as I mentioned above, are thankfully not burdened with trite wannabe-Benton bacon as so many restaurants' vegetables are). Tonight I had cauliflower that was delicious, by virtue of a combination of good spicing and the fearless use of high heat. Pair that with an eggplant reuben - or hell, even with a pickle plate and some fries - and a drink, and I would be happy.

#29 goodeats

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:20 PM

Does anyone want to setup a luncheon or $20 Tuesday here?
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#30 zoramargolis

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

The hot beet borscht is a fabulous vegetarian soup, and if served without the sour cream would be vegan. Although the sour cream makes it really wonderful.

#31 giant shrimp

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:01 AM

Having eaten here again (with my vegetarian kid), I will respectfully disagree with this. In my experiences so far, the vegetable sides are really notably good (and, as I mentioned above, are thankfully not burdened with trite wannabe-Benton bacon as so many restaurants' vegetables are). Tonight I had cauliflower that was delicious, by virtue of a combination of good spicing and the fearless use of high heat. Pair that with an eggplant reuben - or hell, even with a pickle plate and some fries - and a drink, and I would be happy.

The hot beet borscht is a fabulous vegetarian soup, and if served without the sour cream would be vegan. Although the sour cream makes it really wonderful.


Will definitely try some of these on my next visit.

#32 Bob Wells

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

Does anyone want to setup a luncheon or $20 Tuesday here?


I'd be up for a lunch. Would like to meet some of you folks!

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#33 mdt

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

The not as good: the food, really. We got the pickle plate to start. I liked the egg a lot, and the cucumbers were good too. The rest of it wasn't as good - I couldn't identify what the white vegetable was (my date did but I've forgotten what she said it was) and the carrots (at least, we think they were carrots) were eye-watering.


The white veggies were turnips, which I thought were very tasty along with the fennel and carrots.

The tongue sandwich was excellent.

The brioche bread pudding is more like a moist individual cake that was made much better by the ice cream.

#34 jm chen

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:49 PM

Could anyone who's been here recently on a weekend evening speak to whether the restaurant seems kid-friendly enough to bring a party of 4 adults with a probably-but-not-definitely sleeping eight-month-old? Since it's not truly deli it's hard to get a bead on how formal the place is, and how crowded the dining room might be during prime time.
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#35 darkstar965

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:39 PM

Could anyone who's been here recently on a weekend evening speak to whether the restaurant seems kid-friendly enough to bring a party of 4 adults with a probably-but-not-definitely sleeping eight-month-old? Since it's not truly deli it's hard to get a bead on how formal the place is, and how crowded the dining room might be during prime time.


I'd think it fine. When we were there (upthread) the environment, while a bit upscale relative to the word "deli," was bustling and even noisy. It is a restaurant more than a deli in terms of the vibe but definitely not a white tablecloth, fine china, can-hear-a-pin-drop kind of experience. I'm pretty sure there was at least one table near us with a small child (or two). Hope you enjoy it :)

#36 zoramargolis

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:34 PM

The white veggies were turnips, which I thought were very tasty along with the fennel and carrots.


My daughter loved the pickled turnips. She was in Beirut last summer and said that pickled turnips were served almost everywhere she ate there.

#37 Mark Slater

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

Dinner last night was very satisfying. We tried many things. The standouts for me were the pastrami cured salmon on a bagel, the knish and the incredible reuben.

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#38 hmmboy

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 01:24 AM

First time here tonite and this not so nice NYC Jewboy loved it. Four dishes. An excellent matzo ball soup. I'll admit it - and this is for your benefit Rocks - I like my balls harder, but it was still delicious. Chef Koslow was kind enough to allow me a taste of the pastrami (as you will see below, I was too stuffed for a sandwich). I really enjoyed the heavy spice rub and the meat was flavorful and cooked to perfection. I thought the kasha vanishes were awesome - this is one of my favorite traditional dishes that Chef Koslow elevated to new heights. I wrote Abam Bernbach after dinner to say how much I liked this dish, but that it was not for an "Alta Cocker"(which literally translates to "old shitter" in German but in colloquial Yiddish means fussy old man). In addition to a big flavor profile, this vegetarian dish has a healthy dose of heat (housemade harissa), not something you find in traditional Jewish cooking or that prior generations are used to. Adam wrote back reminding me that I was an alta cocker. He is now looking for a job. The piece de resistance was the much ballyhooed chopped liver. I was dubious but it lived up to all the accolades and then some. 50 years ago I would help my mom make chopped liver. For large gatherings, like Passover, we would make it in a cast iron hand grinder that clamped onto the table. But more often I would hand chop it in a wooden bowl. I lamented the fact that no deli chopped liver, and I include all the great NYC delis in this indictment, as well as the new wave delis like Mile End and Wise Sons, could approach my moms. Frankly, none was really that great. DGS's chopped liver is great - better than my mom's - and the alta cockers would agree. I think I ate a pound of it tonite. Looking forward to returning and eating my way through the rest of the menu.
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#39 zoramargolis

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:57 PM

I also grew up with one of those cast iron meat grinders that clamped to a counter, which my mother used to make chopped liver (with hardboiled egg and onion sauteed in schmaltz), although she made chopped eggplant in a wooden bowl with a hockmesser.
I didn't have chopped liver at DGS, that's one I'll order the next time I go. But the best you've ever eaten? Better than Michel Richard's chicken faux gras? That is the best I've ever eaten.

#40 hmmboy

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:51 PM

not even close.
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#41 Albert Yi

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:49 PM

I'll just echo some sentiments here. My matzo ball soup was great: the matzo ball that soaked up the flavorful broth really well. Pastrami sandwich was great. I was never really impressed by the pastrami at Katz which was too mushy for my taste. At DGS the pastrami has some texture to it. Yeah you end up chewing some fat, but it's pretty tender as fat goes and it pairs well with the crusty bread. The price was a bit more than I was expecting, maybe by 20%, but my experience was positive enough that I want to go back and try some more.

#42 DonRocks

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:59 PM

I'll just echo some sentiments here. My matzo ball soup was great: the matzo ball that soaked up the flavorful broth really well. Pastrami sandwich was great. I was never really impressed by the pastrami at Katz which was too mushy for my taste. At DGS the pastrami has some texture to it. Yeah you end up chewing some fat, but it's pretty tender as fat goes and it pairs well with the crusty bread. The price was a bit more than I was expecting, maybe by 20%, but my experience was positive enough that I want to go back and try some more.


Say hi next time! :)

And I agree with Mark - that's the best chicken liver I've ever had. Disclaimer to Zora - I don't like MR's Faux Gras at all: I have to force myself to finish an order of it at Central; I had to force myself *not* to finish my order at DGS tonight.

And I agree with Albert - the Matzo Ball Soup is great.

This is surely the best restaurant in Dupont Circle.

It was a wonderful surprise running into my old friend at the bar. :)

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#43 MBK

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

My friends who aren't on dr.com often turn to me as a walking restaurant guide - and each time they would ask me for my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood, I would answer "well, I don't really go out to dinner in Dupont..." Not so subtle code for "Dupont's restaurants are crummy."

But not any more. I've probably been to DGS four or five times now, and I've eaten my way through much of the menu - and DGS is absolutely my new neighborhood spot. It's nice to have a spot on the way home to stop into for amazing chopped liver, North African-inspired knishes, tangy pickled vegetables and fishes, flavorful pastrami, comforting matzo ball soup, perfectly fried latkes served with both creme fraiche and housemade apple compote so you can compose the ideal bite with equal parts of both, olive and harissa-laced kasha varnishkes, and craveable smoked chicken (served with schmaltzy greens - southern-style collards gone Jewish). Plus, I've always found service to be nice, the whiskey selection to be enticing, and the babka dessert (if I can save room for it) to be a sweet ending to a lovely meal.

If you're looking for your grandmother's Jewish food, you may not find it. But you'll surely find something so much better.
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#44 Mark Slater

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:14 AM

I really like the chopped liver. I couldn't finish it because we ordered too much other stuff......

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#45 DonRocks

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 01:14 PM

Okay, we have the Jewish contingent from New York and New Orleans, *and* Super Goy from DC raving about the chopped liver. What more could you ask for?

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#46 Albert Yi

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

DGS gets a positive review from Sietsema.



#47 DonRocks

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:35 PM

I've now been to DGS Delicatessen three times: December 23rd (when I ran into an old friend at the bar), December 24th (with my favorite dining companion in the whole, wide world), and January 7th (with Mark Slater, to celebrate his new job at Bastille (which has been silently lurking just behind Restaurant Eve in the Dining Guide for a long, long time, and now it's certainly time for some more visits to Bastille - congratulations, Mark!))

 

On Monday, I picked up Mark, who looks terrific (and who managed to keep his new job a secret from me, the dirty dog!), and we were escorted up to what must surely be the best table in the restaurant: the "deuce" by the window on the top floor, overlooking 18th Street - which reminds me of the similar table at Komi overlooking 17th Street. All three times I've been to DGS, I was fingered by Brian Zipin, and all three times, Barry Koslow was there, working away - now that Tom Sietsema's review is out, I hope they'll take a well-deserved vacation. I'd say congratulations to the crew at DGS, but I suspect they're quite disappointed with their two-star rating, and without having talked to anyone, I have to say that I respectfully disagree with that rating myself - I think the restaurant deserves a higher mark, and that it is one of the best restaurants that Dupont Circle has ever seen. That said, Tom recently wrote something about grade inflation and how it has become a problem, so perhaps he's going to become a bit more stringent in general (this is pure speculation on my part). I'll mention one more thing about that later, but for now, allow me to write my own thoughts.

 

Mark generally enjoys a cocktail at the beginning of a relaxing dinner, and we started out with a Mazel Tov Cocktail ($11), one of the funniest names I've ever heard for a cocktail (think about it). A refreshing, non-cloying drink that's a perfect aperitif, it's made with champagne, Averell plum gin, lavender syrup, and lime. 

 

The dean of area sommeliers ordered the white wine, a 2011 Schloss Gobelsberg Grüner Veltliner ($38), a perfect match for the lighter dishes here that's also available by the glass for $10. At my behest, we started with the Chopped Liver ($8) which I've had before, and is the greatest chopped liver I've ever had in my life - it comes served on a radicchio leaf, topped with red onion marmalade, gribenes ("Jewish pork rinds" made with chicken skin), and double-baked rye bread. For all first-time visitors to DGS, this is your must order, especially at the price - it's plenty for two people to share. And this time, I learned a little secret: when you're just about out of chopped liver, take the radicchio leave, fold it into a "wrap," and enjoy an astounding little pleasure, with the bitterness of the radicchio acting as a palate cleanser. I'm not sure if this is polite or not, but I don't care - it's a home-run idea and a fine combination of flavors. 

 

At Mark's urging, we also had the Smoked Salmon Pastrami Sandwich ($11) which Mark claimed was his favorite item from his previous visit. It was astounding - a frozen St. Viateur Bagel from Montreal, topped with labneh, the smoke salmon pastrami, and a mound of pickled mustard seed along with cucumber salad. This is the first St. Viateur bagel I've had since my final evening in Montreal, when I got two bagels at St. Viateur, a pound of smoked meat from Schwartz's a bottle of Côtes du Rhone from a local wine store, then went back to my hotel room and had a two-sandwich dinner that was as memorable as you could possibly imagine. 

 

As a transition course at the end of the white wine, and the beginning of the red wine, we split a pasta course, the Kreplach ($17), bacalao (salt cod and potato) ravioli with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and Za'atar spice. Although the menu doesn't say so, this dish is decadent due to its buttery sauce which worked so well with the Grüner Veltliner.

 

I chose the red based on the sample sip I had on my previous visit - the 2005 Viña Aberdi La Rioja Alta Reserva ($46), a classic, unmistakable Rioja that's worth every penny, and is also available by the glass for $12. (With more than one person, it's almost *always* better to purchase wine by the bottle, both price-wise, and quality-wise because you never know how long the wine has been sitting open).

 

The Knish ($8) is strongly in red wine territory, with Sephardic, North African influences: lamb merguez, lentils, and raisin mustard, baked into an astonishing filo-like pastry. This is the type of dish that Joan Nathan might knock (and, in fact, did, because my friend overheard her knocking it), but the Jewish people, as far as I'm aware, live in other countries besides Israel and New York. A double-sauced dish, this is a powerful, spice-driven knish that is quite assertive.

 

Long after we threw in the towel, out came the Flanken ($21), yeah, we kind of over-ordered, braised short ribs (*not* cooked sous-vide) with Tunisian spices, figs, spinach and fresh mint. The Potato Latkes ($7), with crême fraiche and DGS apple preserves, looked like nothing special at all, but were much better this time than the last time I had them.

 

Around this time, we were about sprawled out on the floor, especially me, because I'm trying eat slower, less, lighter. So of course Barry sent out a slice of DC Style Cheesecake ($7) with cranberry compote. I have yet to have a dessert at DGS that wasn't fantastic, and I've just about had them all now.

 

After one read of Tom's review, I have two strong agreements, and two strong disagreements: I think he's right about too much mustard seed on the smoked salmon pastrami, and also that the sauce in the Holishkes is a bit too sweet; I think he's wrong about comparing the knish to an Indian samosa, and of course with the overall star rating. But it was an interesting and thoughtful review, if a bit too harsh.

 

I suspect these folks are going to take a vacation day or two now that review season is over, so you may want to wait a week before heading to DGS Delicatessen. But when you do go, I can pretty much assure you that you're going to be very, very impressed with this restaurant.

 

PS - Not that he's entirely objective, but Brian Zipin swears to me that DGS Delicatessen has the best brunch in town.


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#48 lekkerwijn

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

Funny you should say this because my understanding is that she advised on the menu.

 

The Knish ($8) is strongly in red wine territory, with Sephardic, North African influences: lamb merguez, lentils, and raisin mustard, baked into an astonishing filo-like pastry. This is the type of dish that Joan Nathan might knock (and, in fact, did, because my friend overheard her knocking it), but the Jewish people, as far as I'm aware, live in other countries besides Israel and New York. A double-sauced dish, this is a powerful, spice-driven knish that is quite assertive.

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#49 DonRocks

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

Funny you should say this because my understanding is that she advised on the menu.

 

Yes, I heard this too - I can't reconcile the two things, although perhaps she was criticizing the execution. I absolutely believe my friend, who is exceedingly knowledgable, knew who Joan Nathan was, and was sitting right next to her. Personally, I did not know who Joan Nathan was until very recently, but that says more about me than her. 


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#50 darkstar965

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:04 PM

Sometimes I find it really interesting to see changing trends in feedback on this website over time.  Seems definitely true with DGS, which prompts a question.  I'm directing this mostly at those who, like MBK and Don, have now been to DGS at least a few times including at least one very recent visit (since New Years).

Has DGS improved significantly in the past six weeks?  Some context as to why I ask.

I've been to DGS twice but not in the past month.  I wrote up my first visit upthread in very early December.  I was (and remain) very excited about DGS but felt then it wasn't firing on quite all of its cylinders as would be totally understandable with any new place.  Others noted issues in posts all made around that time (late November/early December) including mtureck, seanmike and giantshrimp, all excerpted below:

 

Yup, the main thing to note is that this is a restaurant serving deli-style food, not a deli.
...

I wasn't happy with the pastrami at all. I found it cut way too thick, was far too fatty, and lacked flavor. I'm normally fond of fatty pastrami, but on this sandwich the fat was too chewy and thick...not particularly appetizing. They make everything in-house, so maybe they're still working out consistency...

 

So I spent last night there...literally all night, I was the first one in there and I think the last one to leave with my companion for the evening.

The good: the service was AMAZING. ...
The also good: the drinks were quite excellent...
The not as good: the food, really. ... I wasn't blown away like I expected to be.

 

...The problem was partly the new interpretation, but also the execution. Absent were the soft onions in chicken fat that transport the groats and bowties in your grandmother's kitchen. In their place, the farfalle were swamped in mushrooms, and they were gritty. The fungus to pasta ratio was out of whack....
We did enounter service problems, in abundance. ...

DGS obviously needs some more time to settle in. It is offering plenty of good delicatessen food, but has a ways to go to realize its ambition of becoming a first-rate Jewish restaurant.

 

But then, there seemed to be a change in the tide.  The new bullish trend was exemplified by different members including hmmboy, Albert Yi, MBK and, now, Don.  These more recent reports were much more consistently positive.  Excerpted below:

 

First time here tonite and this not so nice NYC Jewboy loved it. ...Looking forward to returning and eating my way through the rest of the menu.

 

I'll just echo some sentiments here. My matzo ball soup was great: the matzo ball that soaked up the flavorful broth really well. Pastrami sandwich was great... my experience was positive enough that I want to go back and try some more.

 

...I've probably been to DGS four or five times now, and I've eaten my way through much of the menu - and DGS is absolutely my new neighborhood spot. ...
If you're looking for your grandmother's Jewish food, you may not find it. But you'll surely find something so much better.

 

I've now been to DGS Delicatessen three times: December 23rd (when I ran into an old friend at the bar), December 24th (with my favorite dining companion in the whole, wide world), and January 7th (with Mark Slater, ... now that Tom Sietsema's review is out, I hope they'll take a well-deserved vacation. I'd say congratulations to the crew at DGS, but I suspect they're quite disappointed with their two-star rating, and without having talked to anyone, I have to say that I respectfully disagree with that rating myself - I think the restaurant deserves a higher mark, and that it is one of the best restaurants that Dupont Circle has ever seen. ...when you do go, I can pretty much assure you that you're going to be very, very impressed with this restaurant.

 

Again, I haven't been since early December.  And it wouldn't be surprising at all to learn that a month has made all the difference at coming up to speed fully. But I ask because the recent positive feedback and less recent negative don't focus on the same specifics that much. The only consistent theme from the earliest days is that awesome chicken liver.

 

I'm looking forward to going back and trying things that have been raved about. Based on only my now somewhat dated view, I can't imagine calling DGS "one of the best restaurants that Dupont Circle has ever seen" as Don did. Not with Nora, Eola. Komi, Sushi Taro and Obelisk all crowding that tier. Don's rave about the "frozen" Montreal bagel miffs me a bit?  I didn't enjoy the bagel when I was there, thinking it ordinary. Pre-frozen would probably explain that but a relatively minor point.

 

I'm not current. Some of you are.  So not asking whether or not you like it but, rather, for those that have some data from multiple visits ranging from post-Thanksgiving until now, have you seen significant change for the better? Is this a definitely widely held view or, like many places, do we just have some very varied perspectives as enrich many dr topics? Noticed none of the early posters (me included), who had some early mixed reviews, are among the more recent unqualified fans.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Dupont Circle, South Dupont, Jewish, Deli, Homemade Corned Beef, Homemade Pastrami

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